"The rate of membership decline, which covers the entire year 2020, has nearly doubled from the previous year, and the rate of attendance has also gone down significantly," he relays.
The latter, Walton says, is a bit more complex because of COVID-19 limiting the reporting period and not reporting major church attendance events such as Christmas and Easter.
"The rate without those factors went down basically cataclysmically -- nearly 12%, which is incredible for a single year," the IRD spokesman continues.
Those numbers are from before COVID and are reflected in the denomination's financial figures for 2020.
"The church's overall giving dropped by about $60 million, which isn't really that much for the Episcopal Church, but it's a decline of about 4%," Walton explains. "And when you look back at the Episcopal Church's numbers, numbers sometimes plateau and tend to rise more slowly, but financially, they don't drop."
The real decline, he says, began when the church turned its back on the Bible's position on human sexuality.
"We're also seeing a real concern that universalism is taking a toll on the denomination," Walton adds. "Universalism is the idea that all people are saved.
That belief is also called universal reconciliation.